I’m New Here: Weeks Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three…

July 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Time seems to be advancing at an ever-increasing pace.  Each day is crammed with more tasks than can possibly be accomplished; I think this means I am beginning to get the hang of things.  But Monday brought me up short a bit as I searched titles tracing a particular story which initially diverted to the Freedom Ride.  As intriguing as the tone in those accumulating reports of bus rides through the South was, the heading on a neighboring column wrested my eyes and my thoughts.  I had to know the reason that divorcees (such a fancy and outmoded term) spent a night in jail.  At least that’s what I believed at the time.  However, since it has been four days since I read the report and I am still ready to sound forth at a moment’s reflection, it might have been better if I stuck to the familiar angst over bus seats allocated by color of skin.

In case accompanying photographs do not tell enough story, women went to jail because deadbeat dads (such a crass and modern term) did not pay court-ordered child support.  Just that.  The year was 1963, and I suppose I am not meant to expect much else from the era — particularly that the freedom to assemble could possibly, legally, be constrained to a total of four persons.

Because, that was the crux of the charges — the reason for the headline:  Night in Jail Makes Divorcees Contrite.  “They promised that if they ever picket the County Building again to protest lagging support payments they will keep within the legal limit of four.”  Fifty-six years ago a woman who was not receiving justice promised by the legal system had to promise to forego rights granted in 1791 by the First Amendment, even as she attempted to bring pressure to bear on the powers that be.  Of course, I’m not foolish enough to think that this tiny fragment that sparks my ire is as important than any of the other Civil Rights /liberties that seem to have too limited of a citizenry to whom they are applied.  And I am fiercely glad that the group of four swelled to an angry mob of twelve, bringing so much havoc upon the town that these single mothers had to be jailed in order to preserve the peace.  Perhaps they were granddaughters of those who marched for Suffrage .  It may be that they were inspired by other heroes that brought about change. Because things are not the same today. Here it helps me to take in the 1963 newspaper as a whole, reading again of the laws that were eventually impacted by two different groups.  In 2019, wearied with seemingly insurmountable conflict, offense, discrimination and outright hatred, the neighboring headline, “11 Riders Quietly Leave for Mississippi Test Run” provides some perspective.  Multiple barriers to equality remain, but many have been knocked down.  Many barriers have been knocked down, but perhaps some have been worn away through the centuries by those whose stories are woven through old newspaper pages, those who find their own, quiet, persistent way to push back.

The Traveler… Martin Luther King… voted in but can’t… first woman…

January 18, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

With today being Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I was trying to find something pertaining to him. In the January 20, 1966 issue of The New York Times I found a small article stating that he was sending his top aide to Birmingham “…to help organize demonstrations protesting alleged voter registration Blog-1-18-2016-Julian-Bonddiscrimination…” Also, “…At the same time a call went out from Dr. King’s headquarters in Atlanta for a meeting next week of civil rights leaders… to map strategy for mass demonstrations against segregated Southern schools…”.

Also in the issue is a nearly full page advertisement for the support of African-American congressman Julian Bond, who was voted into Georgia’s House of Representative after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But the state representatives voted 184-12 not to seat him due to his affiliation with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He took this matter to higher courts in order to be seated. The advertisement reads “Negroes have died for the right to vote in Georgia. Now they are saying, what good does it do to get the vote, to elect representatives, if those elected must face ‘attitude tests’ and loyalty oaths?”  This includes list of names of his supporters including: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Woody Allen; Mr. & Mrs. Harry Belafonte; Diahann Carroll; Sidney Poitier; Dr. Benjamin Spock to name a few.

The first woman prime minister to India had been chosen, Mrs. Indira Nehru Gandhi, only the third Prime Minister to head India. She was the second woman in modern history to head a government.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… taking important steps…

March 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to Detroit, Michigan, by the way of The Detroit News dated March 18, 1965. There I found “Russian Takes First Space Walk From Blog-3-16-2015-Selma-MarchOrbiting Ship”. This was the very first time that anyone had ever taken a walk in space, going sixteen-feet from the capsule.

Also on the front page was the reporting of “Allow Capital March, Judge Tells Alabama.” “A federal judge last night ordered Alabama officials to permit Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights army to march the 50 miles from Selma to this state capital (Montgomery). Moreover, the state authorities must protect the marchers…”. This was the granting of permission for the infamous Selma march which took five days to complete with thousands of people participating.

~The Traveler

Bloody Sunday, Selma, Alabama… Great Headlines Speak For Themselves…

March 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the FITCHBURG SENTINEL, Massachusetts, March 8, 1965Blog-3-11-2015-Selma-Alabama

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… Martin Luther King, Jr. slain…

January 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 5, 1968: “DR. KING SLAIN BY SNIPER IN MEMPHISBlog-1-23-2015-Dr.-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Slain

The Traveler… Birmingham church bombings… and baby makes how many?

September 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to New York City through The New York Times (dated September 16, 1963). There I found the headlines “Birmingham Bomb Kills 4 Negro Girls in Church; Boy Slain in Protest Riot”. This bombing occurred five days after the desegregation of three previously all-white schools in Birmingham, in which President Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard and the Federal Courts issued a sweeping order again Governor Wallace due to his defiance. This church was the same one which was used as the staging point for anti-segregation demonstrations led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in May of that year. Dr. King was reported to be coming to Birmingham to “plead with my people to remain non-violent in the face of this terrible provocation”.

The front page also was providing an update on a special birth that was reported the previous day. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Fischer delivered quintuplets, four girls and one boy. They had five children at home, ages 3 1/2 to 7 years! I did a little research on them and found that they also had one more child after the quints too.  The quints were the second surviving set to be born in the Western Hemisphere and the first to be born in the United States.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… marching in Birmingham… Hitler’s end… your next party…

May 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to Detroit, Michigan by the way of The Detroit News for May 6, 1963. There I found that for the past several days Birmingham, Alabama, has been witnessing the “Children’s Crusade”, in which several hundred students had skipped school to march for desegregation and civil rights. Today’s report states it was peaceful with singing, chanting and praying as it was Sunday. Oddly enough the only arrest made (as of this article) was of a white couple inside the church as they were not permitted inside the church.

Also in the paper was a headline “Found Hitler’s Body in ’45, Reds Say in War ‘Secrets'” which also included a large photo Adolf Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun. This was information being released about the disposition of Hitler’s body from the release of a book by Cornlius Ryan entitled “The Longest Day”.

Did you ever want to be the life of the party? There is a story of a 15-year-old boy that, with a novelty ring, “touted to possess ‘hypnotic’ powers”.  Well, within a few minutes, he truly ended up placing a young lady into a trance but was unable to get her totally out of it. A call to her parents, a trip to the hospital, and a psychiatrist later, the trance was broken. Just be careful at your next party with your jewelry and what you say!

~The Traveler

Obama Wins… What newspapers provide…

November 5, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Regardless of your view on the recent U.S. election, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama’s victory was a very significant and historic event! If you collect historic newspapers you’ve been able to follow the progression of African Americans – from slavery, through the early rumblings of the abolitionist/anti-slavery movement, into the struggle for emancipation (both officially and pragmatically), to achieve the right to vote, followed by the struggle of the civil rights movement, and finally, to the top and most honored position of all – The President of the United States.  It has been a long and hard-fought struggle, but thanks to all that has made our country great, it was a struggle with hope.  The realization of this hope has set the stage for a new era in this great experiment in self-government.  The melting pot is working, evolving the United States into a country where there are no African-American, Latino-American, Anglo-American, Mexican-American, etc. citizenry, but rather, one united citizenry poised to return to the great American Dream founded on the principles wisely set forth by our forefathers and supported by the many men and women who have given their lives in the cause of this great hope…  And it has been and will continue to be chronicled passionately in rare and historic newspapers.

Note:  To all those who have African American and/or slavery/anti-slavery newspaper collections:  Don’t forget to obtain a USA Today, Washington Post, or similar newspaper containing the election results. Although it may not have siginificant financial value at the moment, my guess is there are many who have gone before us whom would declare it “PRICELESS”.  🙂